A day to remember and another day to forget

Lou Piniella and Mariners after 9-11 2001

Today is a day to look back and remember and honor those lost in the tragedy of 9-11 2001. The photo to the left shows the Seattle Mariners in a spontaneous showing of love for their country with an American flag raised at Safeco field. That day changed the world as we knew it and things have never been the same.

Things have never been the same  for baseball in Seattle since the 116 win season in 2010 either,  and today was more of  the same as the Rainiers lost 5-1 at Safeco, while the parent club lost 7-4 in Anaheim.

The Rainiers were never able to get anything going today against former Mariner 37 year-old Brett Tomko who went 6 scoreless innings in front of a crowd(?) of 983 fans. As a result the Rainiers must win tomorrow at Safeco against the pesky Sacramento River Cats or their season is over.

Meanwhile down in Anaheim the Mariners were unable to get it done for their Ace Felix Hernandez who now goes to 11-11, and may very well be out of the hunt for the Cy Young award. As usual the Mariners offense could not produce any offense  until it was too late, scoring 4 runs in the last two innings after Hernandez had already been pulled by manager Daren Brown.

  On the bright side Ichiro still looks like he is on pace to get 200 hits this year as he spanked a 3-run homer in the 8th and had a chance to do the same in the 9th with 2-on but lined-out to end the game.

  Another nice development as of late has been the play of Chone Figgins who not only got a couple of hits tonight, but continues to show some real flair in the field and on the bases. While this day like most of the rest of the season will be another to shove back in to our already overflowing holding tanks of misery, it does seem that there is a nucleus of players between the Rainiers and Mariners that could be part of an improved club in 2012. This offseason may not be as busy as last year’s but with perhaps a couple of free agents from other teams we may be able to compete next year. Notice I said “compete” not win, yes folks I am breaking through my denial and realize we are still a few years away from a playoff team no matter what happens this winter.

   Anyway I know most of you are already switching gears to football given the state of the baseball in the NW, so if you happen to be downtown after the Seahawks game Sunday and are still hungry for action, walk over to Safeco and cheer on the Rainiers at 7pm.

  In closing I hope everyone takes time to once again honor those who died on Sept. 11 2001 and the servicemen and women who fought in or are still fighting the  subsequent conflicts abroad , whether you supported the decision to fight them or not.  I particularly want to salute my nephew Eric Lawson who served twice in Iraq with the Air Force, as well as all the Merchant Mariners who are entrusted with carrying the nation’s war goods in times of conflict.http://jeffsmariners.com

Both Northwest teams lose tonight

Sparse crowd of 2,460 at Safeco to watch Rainiers

Tonight was sort of a double-header for me as I decided to attend the Tacoma Rainiers game at Safeco, then managed to listen to the Mariners on the way home.

Unfortunately both teams lost, the Mariners 4-3 in 14 innings on a walk-off homer by Bobby Abreu and the Rainiers 6-2 to the Sacramento River Cats.
Since I spent actual money and time watching the AAA game I think I will focus on them as it was a fun experience despite the loss. I spent $25 to get a seat in the 119 section in the first row on a quiet cool night where it felt a bit like the twilight zone.
For whatever reason only 2,460 fans showed-up tonight as the Rainiers were allowed to use Safeco field while Cheney Stadium is being rebuilt. I would guess that at least half if not more were true-blue Rainiers fans up from Tacoma, mixed in with people like me who did not really know all the players.
  Mauricio Robles got the start for the Rainiers and did not have very good command of his fastball tonight against the River Cats who are part of the Oakland system and were playing with their backs to the wall facing elimination tonight. The River Cats were able to score 5 of their 6 runs via the long-ball off of the Rainiers who now lead the series 2-1.
  It was nice to see John Halama, Tommy Everidge (who fanned 4 times tonight) and Brett Tomko in uniform for the visiting club. I was not particularly impressed with Smoak or Ackley though both have been hot prior to tonight’s game, which actually felt more like a highschool football game due to the small but lively crowd.
 The Rainiers only scored twice tonight but for some reason it feels different from the Mariners when they are behind, probably because the Rainiers have 5 or 6 guys who unlike their counterparts on the big club routinely hit home runs. So I stayed to the end hoping to get a glimpse of the one guy I am really looking forward to seeing soon with the Mariners, that being Danny Cortes the flamethrowing reliever. I met Danny during spring training this year and he seems like a nice guy with a strong desire to compete and the arm to go with that fire in his belly. 
It was great to listen to the funloving Rainiers fans chant and make noise like a group of kids on a field trip to the big city. The Rainiers have a great fan base that have been rewarded with a winning team this year and they did not seem as jaded as the average Mariners fan. Winning is fun!
  The Rainiers are now up 2-1 in this 5-game series and will be playing at noon on Saturday at Safeco, and 7pm Sunday if need be. In the event they win this series they will be forced to play their next series entirely in Memphis as they are literally homeless here in the NW as the Mariners will be back in town.
   So if you are looking for a change of pace and want to see Brett Tomko pitch against Justin Smoak and the Rainiers, head down to the Safe tomorrow and enjoy some fun baseball without the traffic and at half the price!.http://jeffsmariners.com

Mariners start-off with a bang, end with a thud

Another fan cuckoo for Coco Crisp!

   Luke French got the start tonight and was shaky from the get-go. The problem with French is that he basically has only two pitches, a mediocre fastball and a change-up. And on nights like tonight where he doesn’t have the command of his fastball like he did in his last start against Cleveland, trouble is sure to follow as in tonight’s game where we lost 4-3 despite homers by Branyan and Tui in the first couple innings.

 French got fried to a crisp by a 2-run homer in the 3rd off the bat of the guy with the best name in baseball, that’s right you guessed it; none other than Coco Crisp! Of course not to be outdone our club has a player with only one name, and Ichiro who has made a name for himself (even if it is only one)  did manage to get a couple of hits tonight including a lead-off double in the 5th for hit #183. Unfortunately after Figgins moved Ichiro to third on a ground ball both Branyan and Lopez went down on strikes to end the threat.

  French left the game in the 6th with a couple of runners on and nobody out giving the ball to Jamie Wright who battled away but eventually let in a pair of runs and the Mariners basically surrendered after that.

  The A’s are now 7 games back in the AL West after winning this series and have been able to stay in the hunt way past their normal expiration date, it would be a huge story if they were able to catch the Rangers somehow.

  The Tacoma Rainiers are playing the AAA affiliate of the A’s in the play-offs and  battled back to a 10-8 win tonight in the first game of the series. Interesting to note that former Mariners Brett Tomko and John Halama are both pitching for the Rivercats,these two ancient Mariners make me want to reconsider retiring from softball! I’m hoping to catch a Rainiers game when they play at Safeco this weekend as it will be as close as we come to postseason baseball in Seattle this year.

   The team has a day off for travel tomorrow before heading down to Anaheim to play the Angels who won 4-3 tonight against the Indians, but  like ourselves are mostly playing for pride and player development in these last 22 games. On a final note as rough and sad as this year has been, I’m not looking forward to the long winter with no baseball.

   On a side note I just read Geoff Baker’s late night post on his blog which contained an email from Howard Lincoln to his staff. In it he tries to assure everyone that everything is under control and there is no need to listen to those nay-sayers in the media and blogs! Looks like the house of cards is starting to crumble and the top management is starting to feel the heat fom all the disgruntled fans after this year. I will follow-up with more tomorrow after the dust settles.http://jeffsmariners.com

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